Saturday, December 24, 2011

A View from the Top, Day 3

Hot Lava!
Today we took a helicopter ride around the island, talk about seeing some cool stuff. We took off from the Kona Airport and made our way to the other side of the island to view the volcano from above. Since it was spewing a lot of gas there was a 6 mile no fly zone around the crater…boo. But we headed on to see…LAVA!!! We started flying in the area north of where Chain of Craters Road ends and this is where we saw same trees on fire and some lava seeping out of the ground. We also got to see Jack's House, the last surviving house in the Royal Gardens subdivision that was taken over lava from Kilauea (75 homes were destroyed when the eruptions began in 1983). You can tell by the picture that the lava is getting dangerously close to his house. After we saw all this we headed towards Hilo and got to view the coastline and MANY waterfalls! It had rained the night before so the valleys and rivers were flowin'! We made our way to the Kohala Forest and we landed in one of the valleys (our pilot was quite inredible!). We got walk around here and pick some fresh fruit right off the trees. We got back in the helicopter and followed the coastline all the way back to airport, and we got to see our hotel along the way too!
this is Jack's house. The lava has gotten so close but its still standing  in March 2012 Pele destroyed his home

some trees on fire
After we were done with this we decided to rent some snorkel equipment from Snorkel Bob's and head to Kekaha Kai State Park…we drove our rented sports car on an "unimproved" lava road to get there! (Unimproved is the word they used on the sign…why not just say unpaved or something because it looked like there was never any maintenance done to this road.) We stayed there for a few minutes but the waves were pretty strong due to the VERY windy weather that day. So we opted to head to the Mauna Kea resort to see their beach. (Mauna Kea is the sister hotel to ours, Hapuna Prince.) Matt went snorkeling around the rocks while I just relaxed on the beach, I was a little nervous to snorkel without someone making sure we weren’t going too far or if there was a shark or something near..eeekk!) After that we cleaned up and got ready for dinner at Hapuna's Coast Grill. The food was amazing! But what was better was watching the sun set and then see a shooting star while we ate dinner; a truly wonderful night!

no room for error

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Whole Island Drive, Day 2

On our second day we took a drive around the island to see EVERYTHING we possibly could. Our first stop was the Punalu'u Bake Shope (the southernmost bakery in the USA). After we got our treats we walked back to the car and nearby there was a mechanic working on a tour bus. Well for some reason the driver started backing up and ran over the guys leg! My husband ended up having to call 911; thank goodness the fire department was right across the street! After we were able to leave we headed on our way to Punalu'u Beach Park.

This park is famous for its black sands (much more accessible then Pololu) and for the sea turtles that come up on the sand to nap and sun bathe. While we were there we were able to see two turtles on the beach and many playing in the water bobbing their heads up and down. Next we headed to Volcano National Park and man was it cold! We drove around and saw some steam vents and saw lots of smoke coming from the crater. We walked through an old lava tube that was in the now rain forest which was pretty cool and then we drove all the way down to the end of Chain of Craters Road (which use to go all the way through but they stopped repairing it because lava kept covering it up!). While we were down there we saw a lava arch and some amazing cliffs.  After this we left the park and headed to Mauna Loa Macadamia nut factory and Big Island Candies to get some treats. As we continued our was around the island we also stopped at Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls. After this we were ready to get back and we headed back to the hotel where we had the most beautiful sunset! what a day!
Lava tube

Sea arch

Rainbow Falls

Akaka Falls

breathtaking sunset

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hawaii, The Big Island

We landed in Kona around 9pm and drove in the darkness, surrounded by lava and water to get to the hotel. Its super dark on all the islands because of the light restrictions they have at night. We made it to our room and were so excited to see what the island looked like the next day!

It's our first full day on Hawaii's Big Island! (we arrived 9:30pm the night before) We can't wait to have a look at our hotel grounds and Hapuna Beach. Once we look around we get in the car and head out for breakfast. We stopped at the Hawaiian Style CafĂ© in Waimea…SO good! The food was great, the service was great and fast, and the cost was low! (My three favorite things when we eat out!) I had some biscuits and gravy with hash browns and eggs and my husband some toast, eggs and bacon…yum, yum! It was crazy how cold it got as we drove up into the mountain, 80 degrees by the beach and 65 up where we ate. After eating we took Kohala Mountain Road to Pololu lookout…

warning, warning, warning!
which we then found out had a trail to a black sand beach. We decided we would hike down (without any water) since we drove all that way to see it…p.s. the views are spectacular! We get down there and put our toes in our first black sand beach! Very cool! Now it's time to hike back up…we made it but we were tired and had to ask some people for some water. We took a look around some shops in the area and then headed back to the hotel via the Akoni Pule Hwy along the coast where we were able to see the mountains of Maui. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach and in the sand. I ended up having to take a nap because the jet lag caught up with me. Then we went to a resort neighborhood of Waikoloa and had some dinner and walked around the shops. What a great 1st day!

view from 1/2 way down the hike

toes in the black sand
The Whole Island Drive, Day 2
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...